People are starting to resume their pre-pandemic travel patterns. While this is a welcome relief to the travel and tourism industry, travel has not yet returned to pre-pandemic conditions. This means that precautions remain necessary to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.
Many airlines and border authorities insist that people traveling overseas have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before they can enter an aircraft or another country’s borders. These tests may not be older than 72 hours as the results are outdated after that point. If you intend to travel soon, here is how to get same-day test results.
The gold standard of Covid-19 testing is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which determines whether you have a current viral infection. A PCR test is administered via a nasal swab or saliva sample. It detects the Covid-19 virus by looking for its genetic material. PCR tests are effective for diagnostic, screening, and monitoring purposes.
Although this test is acceptable by most destinations, a standard PCR test can take up to three days to render a result, making this option risky for travelers who need fast results.
The rapid PCR test delivers answers about your Covid-19 status within hours. It costs a bit extra, but it is money well-spent to ensure you get an up-to-date, accurate result before traveling. This test is also widely accepted by most travel and border authorities.
Travelers can also have a rapid antigen test to secure same-day results. Like PCR tests, antigen tests are typically administered via a nasal swab to detect a current Covid-19 infection. The antigen test does not look for genetic material from the coronavirus. Instead, it searches for a protein found on the virus cell’s exterior.
The Covid antibody test looks for prior Covid-19 infection, searching for the antibodies your immune system would have produced while you have the virus. This test cannot reliably tell if you are currently infected with Covid and is not typically acceptable documentation.
During infection waves, many laboratories are overwhelmed, and test results can take days to deliver. Using tests with a private medical service saves a lot of time and frustration getting an accurate and prompt test result before you travel.
Many travelers opt for at-home testing from Drip Hydration, Covid Clinic, Event Scan, and Color. West Palm Beach rapid testing, as well as testing options in other cities, make getting results a breeze. A registered nurse will visit you at home or work to conduct the test, manage the process, and ensure you get your fit to fly certificate before leaving on a trip.
Rapid or standard?
For same-day results, rapid testing is an ideal option. Since the pandemic began, the quality of rapid tests has improved drastically. At first, authorities were reluctant to accept them as their margin for error was higher than in standard tests.
Although rapid testing is now accepted by many authorities, it’s important to research the requirements at your destination to avoid travel disruptions.
Regardless of which type of test you take, you typically get the results via email or text. For travel purposes, print the report and have hard copies available. The report should include your full name, email and cellphone number, address, and an identifying number, such as your passport number.
Furthermore, a results sheet should include information about the company that administered the test and what type of Covid-19 test was used. Your results sheet also includes the date so officials can see that it is not too old to remain valid. Keep spare copies of your test results in your hand luggage together with your vaccination certificate if you have received your Covid-19 shots.
You can buy Covid-19 tests to self-administer at home. Most people use them after exposure to someone with Covid-19 or if they display symptoms before seeking a laboratory test for confirmation.
Although these tests are easy to obtain, an airline or foreign port of entry is unlikely to accept a self-administered test as you will not have the necessary official results report to accompany it. If you intend to travel, let the professionals do your testing.